Arab world needs $230bn to achieve goals

Muscat: The Arab world needs $230 billion to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs) by 2030, while the world will require $5-7 trillion, Minister of Civil Service Shaikh Khalid bin Omar al Marhoon has said.
“The world also needs 470 million jobs if SDGs are to be achieved by 2030,” Al Marhoon said at a two-day conference titled ‘The Role of Arab Governments in Achieving Sustainable Development Goals for 2030’, which began here on Monday.
“Despite the shrinking of resources in the recent period, thanks to the Royal directives of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos, spending continues as it was on education, health, security and social welfare. The Sultanate has been able to achieve many of the objectives of sustainable development (17 goals) during the last period and this confirms the sound economic and social policies applied by the Sultanate.”
Stating that SDGs are based on economic, social and environmental pillars, he said in terms of gender equality, Omani women have a stronger presence in higher education level, while 49 per cent of employees in the Civil Service are women.
He felt there should be more dialogue between government, social and civil societies. “Reduction in income has resulted in a decrease in the funding, but has not impacted health, social development and security.”
His Highness Sayyid Asaad bin Tareq al Said, Deputy Prime Minister for International Relations and Cooperation Affairs and Personal Representative of His Majesty the Sultan, told the Observer: “This conference has the knowledge and I think the group that has gathered in Oman will provide further insights and I hope these two days will see a fruitful result for further planning.”
HH Sayyid Asaad said the Sultanate, thanks to the Royal directives of His Majesty the Sultan, is keen to achieve the goals of sustainable development approved by the United Nations General Assembly in the presence of world leaders and heads of governments on September 25, 2015.
He said the Sultanate has achieved good indicators in the goals of sustainable development and it is continuing to achieve prosperity and human development on the basis that man is the ultimate goal of development, adding: “We, in Oman, are keen to develop our economy while preserving the environment to protect the rights of future generations.”
He said the conference is an opportunity for exchange of experiences by specialists in the fields of sustainable social, economic and environmental development.
More than 20 countries with nearly 15 organisations from Oman and abroad are participating in the event that focuses on United Nations’ 17 goals agreed upon in 2015 by 193 member nations.
There are 169 sub-goals under the 17 goals.
According to the Under-Secretary for Management Development at the Ministry of Civil Service, Salem bin Musallam al Busaidy, “Oman is on track to achieve the 17 goals, but some of the goals need international cooperation such as the goals linked to the environment and the global warming.”
“Some of the challenges, which are also global, are creation of jobs, gender equality and affordable prices. There is also a concern over global warming and pressure on resources in the region. Most of these goals have to be attained by the world as a whole and not just by each country,” said Al Busaidy.
The Director-General of Arab Administrative Development Organisation (ARADO), Dr Nasser Alhatlan al Qahtani, said the annual event is an Arab platform for a dialogue to share views on Arabic economy to serve the goal of 2030.
“How can the Arab governments increase in global ranking? Can we develop a roadmap? What are the methods that can be used to achieve 2030 sustainable goals?” he asked.
He said there was a need to reconsider the prevailing models and present models, adding, “There has to be a fair distribution of wealth, qualified human resources, fair social system, transparency and a culture based on values and innovation.”
In his message to the 18th Annual Conference, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Secretary-General of Arab League, said he hoped the conference will be able to provide systematic answers to achieve SDGs through government and international commitments.
“SDGs are based on the national laws. SDGs ensure better health and other indicators. Economic benefits should not negatively impact the future generation. People should be taken into consideration as well as water, pollution, environment, quality of life now and in the future,” he said.
The conference will also focus on governments’ role in achieving SDGs 2030 and several central issues related to the future and roles of governments in Arab countries. (With ONA inputs).